“Losing your child in a road traffic incident isn’t inevitable. It’s not some sort of incurable disease. It is preventable, we know how to stop it.”
Since 1959, over 24,000 people have died on Irish roads – equivalent to the population of Ennis in Co Clare.
The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims comes as the number of people dying on Irish roads continues to rise.
135 people have lost their lives in 2022, an increase of 19 compared to the same date last year.
Donna Price, the founder and chair of the Irish Road Victims Association (IRVA) told sundayworld.com that these losses have shattered lives.
"Losing your child or a loved one in a road traffic incident isn’t inevitable,” she said. “It’s not some sort of incurable disease. It is preventable, we know how to stop it.
"A driving licence is not a right, it is a privilege that can cause devastation.
"It is not normal to bury our own children. That is not a normal world.
"No parent should be burying their child. The world shatters around you and you are left picking up pieces that will never go together again.
"Believe me, it is hard to even get out of bed. Everything crumbles around you.”
Donna shared a poignant photo of frames representing the thousands of people who have lost their lives on Irish roads.
The photographs stretch far back into the distance, each lit with a small candle.
Across the world, 3,700 people are killed every day in road traffic collisions.
That is 154 every hour, Donna says, and it is important these people don’t become another statistic.
"When a plane crashes, everyone knows about it.
"But many people don’t even notice how many individual tragedies are happening every day to families across the country.
"Every single one leaves so much devastation”, she added.
The IRVA provides support to families and people who have been impacted by road trauma, including gardaí and emergency services.
She said the grief, when you lose someone to a shock incident on the road, is constant.
"Families are left dealing with not just funeral arrangements, but they are thrown into the legal processes like inquests, investigations by the gardaí and the wait while the DPP might prepare a file for prosecution.”
Since 1959, over 86,000 have been seriously injured in road accidents in Ireland.
"To put this in perspective, the number of serious injuries is equivalent to the population of Galway,” said Liz O’Donnell, chair of the Road Safety Authority on the alarming statistics.
"As we mark World Day of Remembrance on its 16th year, it is also a time to remind ourselves of the responsibility we all have when using the roads.
"I am asking everyone, out of respect to victims of road traffic collisions and their families, to reflect on our own behaviour on the roads, and consider what we can do to make them safer.
"Small changes can make a big difference.”
The IRVA are holding their annual event for World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims in Mullingar this Sunday at the Bloomfield Hotel.
The event is for anyone who would like to commemorate those who have been impacted by road traffic collisions from victims, the injured, their families and first responders.